Neither the Vikings nor the Bears has much to play for Sunday, which means we could see plenty of backups before the Vikings head into the playoffs while the Bears prepare for their offseason. The Vikings, who have more to gain from building momentum for the playoffs, will prevail in Week 17.
THREE BIG STORY LINES
Play, and then await playoff fate
The Vikings and Bears kick off at noon, as do two of their potential playoff foes (the Saints and the Packers). But the NFC playoff picture, in all likelihood, won’t be determined until the end of the Seahawks-49ers game on Sunday night.
Lots of playing time for backups?
The Vikings are locked in to the NFC’s No. 6 seed, and coach Mike Zimmer said this week he was debating whether to rest many of the team’s starters Sunday against the Bears. Backup QB Sean Mannion, who’s only been on the field for five kneel-downs this year, could throw his first pass in a game since the preseason.
Bears have been a challenge
The Vikings have lost their past three against the Bears, falling in a Week 17 matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium to miss the playoffs last year and losing to backup QB Chase Daniel after Mitchell Trubisky was injured in Week 4 at Soldier Field this season.
TWO KEY MATCHUPS
Vikings offensive line vs. Bears LB Khalil Mack
Depending on how much Mack plays Sunday, he’ll be among the Vikings’ biggest concerns as they try to deal with Chicago’s vaunted pass rush. The Bears line Mack up all over the field, and especially if the Vikings are sitting some of their starters on the offensive line on Sunday, they’ll have to be diligent in accounting for where Mack is on the field.
Vikings secondary vs. Bears WR Allen Robinson
Robinson has 89 catches for 1,076 yards this season, having emerged as the Bears’ top downfield threat in just his second season with the team. He caught seven passes for 77 yards against the Vikings in September, and his seven touchdowns are the second most of his career.
ONE STAT THAT MATTERS
4-1 The Vikings’ record in the five straight seasons they’ve played the Bears in Week 17 at home. Their 2018 loss to Chicago was their first against the Bears in Minneapolis since Jan. 1, 2012.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN IF …
They can lean on their pass rushing depth to force Trubisky into mistakes without giving him space to run. Sunday is a good opportunity for players such as DEs Stephen Weatherly and Ifeadi Odenigbo to show what they can do in what could be a larger stretch of action, and the Vikings will try to use the crowd to their advantage for the final time this year.
THE BEARS WILL WIN IF …
Their defense can provide enough problems for the Vikings — either with the starters in the game for a stretch of time or the backups getting more work — to keep Minnesota’s offense down for a second straight week, while Chicago’s 29th-ranked running game can find enough of a rhythm.
Goessling's prediction: Vikings, 20-13
Win probability: 60%